Thursday, 25 October 2007

Exciting news from Convergence EMEA 2007

At Convergence EMEA 2007 on Tuesday, there were a couple of exciting announcements from Microsoft:
  1. Increase Ltd was announced as Microsoft's UK partner for hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. You can read the Microsoft press release here. We're very excited to be part of the Dynamics CRM hosting community and to be offering hosted Dynamics CRM 4.0 to our existing and new customers. The news received some coverage on InsightExec, PR Newsire, Webwire, and InformationWeek.
  2. Microsoft also announced that the subscription price for Dynamics CRM 4.0 will be around 40% lower than the price for CRM 3.0. Combined the with new multi-tenant "Titan" platform, this will help hosted Dynamics CRM service providers, like Increase, offer customers much lower prices for hosted Dynamics CRM 4.0.

Our customers are really exicted about the new features of Dynamics CRM 4.0 as well as the lower pricing. We remain committed to migrating our current customers free of charge and at the earliest opprtunity.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Increase at Microsoft's Convergence 2007 conference in Copenhagen

Increase is in Copenhagen next week at Microsoft's Convergence EMEA 2007 conference. Just in case you're going, look out for a couple of events we will be involved in:

On Wednesday 24 Oct at 4pm, we're presenting at a Software + Services seminar by Mark Corely, Microsoft's senior director of CRM channel strategy. We'll be talking about how The MOLE Clinic are using Increase-hosted Dynamics CRM to help diagnose skin cancer.

On Tuesday 23 October at 3pm, we'll be taking part in a CRM Roundtable with Brad Wilson, Micorosft's General manager of Dynamics CRM, and Lars Munch Johansen from Danish partner, Mondo. We'll be discussing reasons why Increase chose to partner with Microsoft, the value that the Dynamics CRM platform allows us to deliver to our customers, and the opportunities that Dynamics CRM 4.0 will open up for Increase and its customers.

If you can't make either of those events, then you're welcome to buy me a beer at the Convergence UK country drinks night on Wednesday at the Carlsberg brewery. "Jeg ville gerne en ole!"

And if you can't make it to Convergence, Increase is having customer conference of its own at the so-bar in Richmond on Thursday 1 November. It'll be just like Copenhagen but with more cocktails!

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0* upgrade plans for Increase CRM hosted customers

We're really proud that The MOLE Clinic and Silvelox UK have been selected by Microsoft as members of the partner-hosted Titan Customer Showcase program. There are only 8 organisations worldwide on this program (96 if you include the on-premise and CRM Live showcase customers), and we're really exited that The MOLE Clinic and Silvelox will be testing Titan with us.

So far, here's how our plans look:
  • late September 2007 - Microsoft release Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Community Technology Preview 3.0 (complete)
  • late September 2007 - build Titan test infrastructure and install CRM CTP3 (complete)
  • early October 2007 - test Increase's internal Microsoft CRM system on CRM CTP3 (on-going)
  • early November 2007 - Microsoft release Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Release Candidate 0
  • early November 2007 - test The MOLE Clinic and Silvelox's Microsoft CRM systems on CRM 4.0 RC0
  • mid November 2007 - migrate The MOLE Clinic and Silvelox's live CRM systems to CRM 4.0 RC0
  • late November 2007 - test all Increase hosted customers' CRM systems on CRM 4.0 RC0
  • end 2007 - Microsoft release Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 release to web
  • early 2008 - migrate all Increase hosted customers to CRM 4.0
If you'd like to see a demonstration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 or you're an Increase customer with questions about our Titan migration plans, please contact your account manager.

* Funny thing is, I don't think Microsoft has confirmed that the next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM will be called Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. Right now, it's still codenamed "Titan". (Unless, that is, you're writing a book about it.)

Friday, 12 October 2007

Thoughts on Increase 2008 hosted Microsoft CRM price plans

While we're having fun testing the latest "Titan" build and looking forward to the launch of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, we're also planning our new pricing plan for 2008.

Today, our pricing plan is a flat fee + user fee. The flat fee is our hosted infrastructure fee and covers the costs of the data centre, network, security, servers, operating system licences and administration, database licences and administration, bandwidth, storage and database backups. The user fee is our hosted Microsoft CRM subscription fee and covers the cost of the Microsoft CRM licenses as well as our CRM support, training and system administration services.

Most other hosted Microsoft CRM service providers and others such as salesforce.com charge a flat fee per user. Although we've tried to keep our plan simple, being a little different can make our offering seem more complex. But we think it has the added advantage of being less expensive to add additional users compared to our competitors. At 10 users our fees are the same as salesforce.com Professional Edition (£750 per month), but user #11 costs £50 with Increase CRM and £75 with salesforce.com.

I invited some of my LinkedIn network to provide their input, and sparked an interesting debate. (http://www.linkedin.com/answers/technology/enterprise-software/TCH_ENT/111207-9701572).

Microsoft is set to announce pricing for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 at the Convergence conference in Copenhagen in a couple of weeks. The new price list will include new SKUs for CRM on the SPLA program, which we're really exited about. We're hoping for a lower cost user licence, a read-only user licence, an External Connector licence, and other improvements. But we'll have to wait and see.

Based on the announced prices, we'll be announcing our 2008 price plans shortly afterwards. At the moment, I'm leaning towards scrapping the infrastructure fee and introducing tiered user fees. For example 5 users for £75 per user, users 6-25 for £60, users 26-75 for £50 and so on. This reflects the reality of some fixed infrastructure costs for small deployments, and the economies of scale of larger deployments. I'd love to hear your feedback.

NB